Without a doubt, the services provided by Southern Italy Travel and Stefano Ammirati are invaluable. They are thorough and a pleasure to work with, I’m glad I found them.
For many of us, satisfying our natural curiosity about where we came from takes us to the internet where we are presented with abundant misinformation and mistaken identities. Also for many of us, the folks who could fill in the blanks are long since passed. Indeed, it is missing these relations that drives us to honor their memory by documenting their story.
In my case, I was experiencing a lot of frustration, there were just too many dead ends and conflicting records in every genealogical application I tried using. To further complicate things, Italy has undergone intense change in the last century or two, so even what your ancestors recollected about names and places may not match in modern times. I knew I needed boots on the ground and it was also clear had to get to Italy (at long last) to see these places for myself.
I finally found Southern Italy Travel which seemed to have extensive experience with the Abruzzi-Molise regions of Italy. I am so glad I did! Stefano answered my email and patiently worked with me to gather and validate the data I had.
Finally, when the time arrived and we met in front of a church in one of my family’s ancestral villages in Molise, three beautiful places my great grandparents, aunts and uncles had to leave in search of a better life. Every detail, from the font where my great grandparents were baptized to the village fountain where they did their laundry, was fascinating to me. At times it was hard to contain my emotions, especially when we saw the monuments thanking those who emigrated for their sacrifice. This is the side of the story we don’t often hear.
We chatted with locals, went to the town halls to look at records and uncovered some new mysteries to explore. He even arranged for the town historian to give a tour. I left with a stack of information and a stream of data I wouldn’t have before. Stefano delivered on his promise and then some.
It was clear he had been to the villages on several occasions and had put in quite a bit of legwork to gather as much information as possible. Beside the fact he’s super-intelligent (he has a deep love of history), he’s also very personable: a trait that is not only helpful to get the locals to talk, but makes spending a day with him a lot of fun. And it was quite a day! I didn’t want it to end, but I will always cherish it. Words cannot express how fulfilling it is to walk in the footsteps of your ancestors.
For anyone thinking about researching their family tree and venturing to Italy to learn about where their story begins, don’t debate it, just do it. Speaking personally, the experience left me feeling more complete and more connected.
I am deeply grateful to Southern Italy Travel and Stefano Ammirati for giving me such a gift.